This article in the series returns to Flanders in Belgium, focusing on traditional sour beers.
There are two main styles of these 'Burgundies of Flanders', which go by various unofficial names: in this article I shall refer to them as Old Brown (Oud Bruin) and the even rarer Old Reds, from East Flanders.
Fermentation in open vats for up to six weeks is followed by storage in old oak casks to mature for nine months before bottling, where they will condition further.
The best-known of these brown ales come from the Liefmans brewery (which dates from 1679), particularly the fully-matured version, Gouldenbrand (6%). You can recognise Liefmans beers by their distinctive tissue-wrapped bottles. Unfortunately, since being taken over by the Riva group in the early 1990s, production methods have changed, and the beer is no longer mashed or boiled in Oudenaarde.
There are only a few other decent examples of this rare style: Clarysse Felix Oudenaards Oud Bruin (5.5%) is delightful fruity, sweet and sourish. Don't gulp it, sip it and savour its rich mixture of flavours.
Another excellent Oud Bruin is only found in a small town north of Oudenaarde called Eine. The brewery is called Cnudde, and the beer is only available on draught in the town.
The best-known producer of Sour Red is Rodenbach. Before the brewery was sold, they used to mature the beer in tall oak tuns for between 18 months and two years before bottling, which gave this Grand Cru a delicious sourness with a large range and complexity of woody, sour and fruity flavours.
Rare as they are, it seems to be easier to get a reasonable Flemish Red than a Brown. Duchess De Bourgogne is my personal favourite.
The best known is probably Liefman's Kriek, but it's so syrupy and sugary these days it is hardly worth bothering with. The only other reasonable ones at the moment that I know of is Echte Kriek on draught, or Felix Kriek, but only from the 75cl bottles - it's horribly sweet and sickly in the little bottles, as we found out recently at the beer festival!